I think now is a good time to make this post, as someone who has recently received my results.
GCSEs are a weird time. It’s the first time things get kind of serious in terms of school and going forwards. Everyone, including you, is stressed, and it’s really hard work to revise without panicking. I’m no expert, but I have some stuff that could help.
1. Don’t listen to all the advice you’re given.
So much information is going to be thrown at you. Much of it is useful, but some of it is just really unhelpful and it’s important you don’t take everything as fact. For example, my chemistry teacher said to our class: “Really, with a few breaks and lunch, you should be working from 9 in the morning till 10 at night.”
Honestly, that’s just ridiculous. For me, I aimed to do around 3 hours each day, more if I could, less if I couldn’t. There is no need to work for hours and hours, like my teacher helpfully suggested. It may end up being counterproductive, because you’ll lose focus after a while. Also, you don’t need to throw the rest of your life away for revision.
All in all, take on advice that will help you, but don’t worry about ignoring some. You can ignore this advice if you want.
2. GCSEs are hard and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
You might hear sixth formers saying that GCSE students shouldn’t complain. Well, I honestly think you have total right to complain. There are harder things, but there always is. Nothing can take away what you’re going through, so treat yourself accordingly.
3. Try not to compare yourself to your classmates too much.
Revising is really a personal preference thing, and everyone will do it differently. Some people will start months and months ahead, and like me, you might think “AHHHH I haven’t started yet!! Oh my gosh I’m going to fail!!!” How much revision you do, how you revise and how you plan is up to you. Of course, steal other people’s ideas if you like them, but don’t be intimidated or worried.
4. Planning is important, but not THAT important.
A revision timetable can really help you make sure you cover every subject. But some of the best advice I was told is that it isn’t set in stone; if you are revising something, and you’re really stuck into it and feel like you’re being productive, you don’t need to stop. Equally if you just can’t seem to get anything done, it’s okay to take a break from it and change to something else.
5. Prepare for the actual exam
The last, and maybe most important advice might be obvious to you, but I also think it’s pretty vital. Prepare for the paper. Know what questions you’re answering (in some papers you won’t be answering them all); if the paper is one where you’re pushed for time, plan out when you’ll move on to each question. Be sure you have all your equipment- don’t forget to sharpen your pencils! Find out where your seat is beforehand so it’s easier to find, as well.
Finally, just remember- exams are important, but they certainly aren’t everything. Success doesn’t depend on grades. Get the best you can, and carry on after that. Look after yourself, and keep in mind that long summer holiday!
If anyone has any queries about GCSEs, you can ask me anything you like in the comments, or you can email me. It can be big or small- from stress management to English exam timings.